A crew of four astronauts arrived at Kennedy Space Center in Florida last Sunday in advance of SpaceX’s second astronaut launch for NASA this weekend.
The astronauts are Victor Glover, Michael Hopkins and Shannon Walker, along with Japanese astronaut, Soichi Noguchi.
The mission, called Crew-1, will see a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch a Crew Dragon spacecraft on an 8.5-hour trip to the International Space Station. Weather permitting, liftoff is set for Saturday evening at 7:49 p.m.
For NASA, this flight marks a start of regular crew rotations to the International Space Station by private companies ferrying the astronauts. This flight will double the number of crew members from the Demo-2 test flight earlier this year. The mission will span six months.
Glover, Hopkins, Walker, and Noguchi will be joining three astronauts already on board the space station. Kate Rubins, along with Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Serchkov launched on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft Oct. 21. The Crew-1 astronauts will join them on Nov. 15, if all goes according to plan.
This mission will be SpaceX’s second crewed flight following the successful Demo-2 flight that launched in May. This is part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. This flight is the first operational mission for SpaceX’s Crew Dragon, which is a commercial spacecraft designed to fly astronauts to and from low Earth orbit.
It will also mark the first time that an astronaut from one of NASA’s international partners will board a SpaceX Crew Dragon. The Japanese space agency is sending one of its veteran astronauts on his third flight to the ISS.
New engines on the Crew-1 booster are scheduled for a pre-launch static fire test on Tuesday. The test was originally slated to take place Monday, but slipped 24 hours because of Tropical Storm Eta, which is expected to bring rain to the area this week.